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So, like so many of these threads, I am brand new to lure making and wood carving in general. I have done a lot of researching on this site and I am in awe at the amazing work I've seen demonstrated here. Having read many threads about talent and wood carving, it is clear that experience is the number one factor in becoming proficient. I seriously drool when I see the incredible works here and often get overwhelmed by the prospects of never reaching that level (especially since I am starting fairly late in life [i'm almost 30]). But, I really want to try and so I am planning on starting by getting a few tools to just get me started so I can just get a foot on the ladder. I've read lots of those "What tools would you recommend I start with?" threads and they are very helpful at giving me an idea of how different different people approach it. It would seem like a majority of the lure makers here have power tools and prior woodworking experience. I have neither so I would like to start really simple: a hand carving knife and some sand paper. However, simple things are never that simple when you dive into the specifics and I hope someone can clarify a few things for me that I haven't been about to glean with the search function. 1. R. Murphy hand carving knife vs Flexcut. I have read that these are both excellent beginners' knives, but can't figure out the other differences. I've read on this site and others, some people who say one is the best over the other. I'm sure they're both great, but which one would be easier to use? Less maintenance? Stays sharper, longer? I found them on eBay, the Murphy for about $18 and the Flexcut for $21. I'd really appreciate any recs. 2. Strop: Is there anything special that I should be looking for in a strop? There's a wide range in prices and I'm unsure if a cheaper one ($10) would be a waste of money vs a more expensive one ($50). I'm recently unemployed and want to use this time to chase a dream, but saving $40 dollars is pretty significant. Also, would this polish be any good? It looks like the DOVO white/yellow tube, but isn't labeled as such. 3. Sharpener: I read that a sharpener is only to be used if the blade is damaged. Does that happen often? Should I get a sharpener? If so, any advice on which one? There are so many different kinds and no real specifics that I can find on the differences. Thanks so much guys. I seriously can't wait to start and look forward to the day when I can show my work and share my ideas as a member of the community!